Lawrence, Sir Edwin Durning-

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Papers, correspondence and other material of politician and writer Sir Edwin Durning-Lawrence (1837-1914), including: material regarding the administration of the library collected by Sir Edwin Durning-Lawrence, including catalogues, accession registers, invoices and receipts for purchases and lists and catalogues compiled for insurance and fire valuation purposes, 1896-1929; cuttings and other material compiled by Sir Edwin Durning-Lawrence and others relating to the Bacon-Shakespeare authorship debate, including scrapbooks of cuttings and other material, cuttings of correspondence by Durning-Lawrence and others to national and local newspapers regarding the issue, playbills for plays by Shakespeare and other material relating to the debate, 1798-1954; material relating to the family and personal careers of Sir Edwin and Lady Durning-Lawrence, including school notebooks, diaries of tours to foreign countries, ephemera relating to Sir Edwin's political career, collections of seaweeds, books of sketches and watercolours and scrapbooks of illustrations, valentines and press cuttings regarding family members, 1804-1909; photographs and illustrations relating to William Shakespeare, Francis Bacon and the authorship debate, including portraits of Shakespeare, Bacon and Sir Nicholas Bacon used by Sir Edwin Durning-Lawrence for his work 'Bacon is Shakespeare', prints and illustrations of other Shakespeare-Bacon related sites, including Canonbury Tower and various monuments and memorials, and from various books by Bacon, Shakespeare and others. Also includes photographs of the library at Durning-Lawrence's home and glass plate negatives, 1912-1913; paintings relating to Shakespeare and Bacon possibly collected by Sir Edwin Durning-Lawrence, including oil paintings by Henry Liverseege and Thomas Stohard and portraits of Bacon and Thomas Egerton by unidentified artists, c1675-c1830; artefacts relating to Shakespeare and Bacon possibly collected by Sir Edwin Durning-Lawrence including copper printing blocks of illustrations from 'Bacon is Shakespeare', medals and tokens, casts of Shakespeare's face, and of the Bacon memorial at Trinity College and other miscellaneous items, including a set of small plaster casts on classical themes, 1885-1912; manuscripts collected and purchased by Sir Edwin Durning-Lawrence, or discovered amongst books during the cataloguing of the Durning-Lawrence Library at Senate House Library, University of London including material regarding Francis Bacon, William Shakespeare, miscellaneous 16th and 17th century documents and a series of unidentified manuscript fragments (These manuscripts were assigned MS numbers before the cataloguing of the Durning Lawrence archive collection and these numbers have been retained), c1200-1921; Manuscripts collected and purchased by Sir Edwin Durning-Lawrence, or discovered amongst books during the cataloguing of the Durning-Lawrence Library at Senate House Library, University of London including material regarding Francis Bacon, William Shakespeare and letters and press cuttings regarding books held within the Durning-Lawrence Library (These manuscripts were not assigned previous archival references), c1600-1924.

Administrative / Biographical History

Sir Edwin Durning-Lawrence was born in London in February 1837, the youngest son of late William Lawrence, Alderman, and brother of politician Sir William Lawrence. He was educated at University College School, followed by University College London where he obtained a BA (1861) and LLB with honours. He married Edith Jane Durning Smith in 1874, the youngest daughter and co-heiress of politician John Benjamin Smith.

During 1867, Durning Lawrence was called to Middle Temple and also was a member of the Metropolitan Board of Works for a short time, as well as a Lieutenant for the City of London and a Justice of the Peace in Berkshire. After unsuccesfully contesting the seats of East Berkshire (1865), Haggerston (1866) and Burnley (1892), Durning-Lawrence was finally elected as Liberal Unionist member of Parliament for Truro in 1895; a position he held until 1906. However, Durning-Lawrence's main passion was the study of literature, especially the field of Bacon/ Shakespeare controversy, and he wrote the works 'Bacon is Shakespeare' (1910) and 'The Shakespeare Myth' (1912), as well as lecturing widely on the subject and dedicating time and money to creating a library to back up his Baconian theories. Sir Edwin Durning-Lawrence died in April 1914

Arrangement

The collection has been divided into the following sections:

DLL/1: The Durning-Lawrence Library

DLL/2: Bacon-Shakespeare Authorship Debate

DLL/3: Family and Personal Material

DLL/4: Photographs and Illustrations

DLL/5: Paintings

DLL/6: Artefacts

DLL/7: Manuscripts in the Durning-Lawrence Library

DLL/8: Additional Manuscripts in the Durning-Lawrence Library

Conditions Governing Access

Access to the items in the collection is unrestricted for the purpose of private study and personal research within the controlled environment and restrictions of the Library's Palaeography Room. However, a small number of files (DLL/4/17-4/19) are closed for preservation reasons and possible handling problems.

Other Finding Aids

Handlist available and also catalogued on the ULRLS on-line archives catalogue, http://archives.ulrls.lon.ac.uk/search.aspx

Archivist's Note

Conditions Governing Use

Copies may be made, subject to the condition of the original. Copying must be undertaken by the Palaeography Room staff, who will need a minimum of 24 hours to process requests.